European Journal of Forest Research

, Volume 134, Issue 6, pp 1055–1074 | Cite as

New procedure for the simulation of belowground competition can improve the performance of forest simulation models

  • Vladimir Shanin
  • Raisa Mäkipää
  • Maxim Shashkov
  • Natalya Ivanova
  • Konstantin Shestibratov
  • Svetlana Moskalenko
  • Liliya Rocheva
  • Pavel Grabarnik
  • Kapitolina Bobkova
  • Alexey Manov
  • Andrey Osipov
  • Elvira Burnasheva
  • Maria Bezrukova
Original Paper


The major part of existing models of belowground competition in mixed forest stands is limited in explaining the spatial distribution of roots as a response to competitive pressure from neighbours and heterogeneity of soil properties. We are presenting a new spatially explicit and multi-layered discrete model of belowground competition, RootInt (ROOTs INTake). It describes spatial distribution of belowground biomass and allows simulation of competition between trees for soil nutrients. The tree-specific area of root zone is calculated on the basis of stem diameter, with site-specific modifiers to account for the effect of soil fertility and moisture. The shape of root zone is dependent on the amount of available nitrogen in the current cell, distance between this cell and the stem base, and the mass of roots of other plants. RootInt was incorporated into ecosystem model EFIMOD to refine the existing description of belowground competition in forest stands with multiple cohorts and tree species. The results of simulation showed that bringing more complexity into structure of stand (including initial spatial locations of trees, species composition and age structure, vertical structure of canopy) resulted in higher spatial variation in competition intensity, as well as in higher rates of resource uptake. This indicates that stands with complex canopy structure had high plasticity in their root systems and were adapted to intensive competition for soil resources.


Process-based model Root systems Forest ecosystems Adaptation Meta-analysis 



We would like to thank Dr. Risto Sievänen, Dr. Tuomo Kalliokoski, and Dr. Aleksi Lehtonen for the fruitful discussions and valuable comments on the structure of the model. We are also very grateful to the anonymous reviewer for the careful reading and constructive comments which helped us to improve the quality of the paper. The work was supported by the Russian Foundation for Basic Research, Grant Number 15-04-05400; the Academy of Finland, Project Numbers 140766 and 278151; and the Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation (Project No. 14.616.21.0013 from 17.09.2014, unique identifier RFMEFI61614X0013). This paper is dedicated to Prof. Alexander Komarov who contributed a much to the development of the model concept and to the manuscript preparation.

Supplementary material

10342_2015_909_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (759 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 759 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Vladimir Shanin
    • 1
  • Raisa Mäkipää
    • 2
  • Maxim Shashkov
    • 1
  • Natalya Ivanova
    • 3
  • Konstantin Shestibratov
    • 4
  • Svetlana Moskalenko
    • 1
  • Liliya Rocheva
    • 5
  • Pavel Grabarnik
    • 1
  • Kapitolina Bobkova
    • 6
  • Alexey Manov
    • 6
  • Andrey Osipov
    • 6
  • Elvira Burnasheva
    • 7
  • Maria Bezrukova
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Physicochemical and Biological Problems in Soil ScienceRussian Academy of SciencesPushchinoRussia
  2. 2.Natural Resources Institute FinlandVantaaFinland
  3. 3.Institute of Mathematical Problems of BiologyRussian Academy of SciencesPushchinoRussia
  4. 4.Branch of Shemyakin and OvchinnikovInstitute of Bioorganic Chemistry RASPushchinoRussia
  5. 5.Pushchino Municipal AdministrationPushchinoRussia
  6. 6.Institute of Biology of the Komi Science Centre of the Ural DivisionRussian Academy of SciencesSyktyvkarRussia
  7. 7.Bashkir State UniversityUfaRussia

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